Announcing the October 2014 WØTLM Technician License Class

W0TLMHam Radio Two-Day License Class

Sat October 18 and Sat October 25 (8 AM to 5 PM) 2014
Location: Tri-Lakes Monument Fire Station 1, Monument, CO

The Technician license is your gateway to the world-wide excitement of Amateur Radio …

  • Earn your ham radio Technician class radio privileges
  • Pass your FCC amateur radio license exam right in class on the second day
  • Multiple-choice exam, No Morse Code Required
  • Live equipment demonstrations
  • Learn to operate on the ham bands, 10 Meters and higher
  • Learn to use the many VHF/UHF FM repeaters in Colorado
  • Find out how to participate in emergency communications

There is a $25 registration fee for the class.

In addition, students must have the required study guide and read it before attending the two-day class: HamRadioSchool.com Technician License Course $20.95
(make sure you get the most recent edition of this book, updated for the new FCC exam questions)

Advance registration is required (no later than one week before the first session, earlier is better! This class usually fills up early.)

To register for the class, contact: Bob Witte KØNR
Email: bob@k0nr.com or Phone: 719 659-3727

Sponsored by the Tri-Lakes Monument Fire Radio Association
For more information on amateur (ham) radio visit www.arrl.org or www.wedothat-radio.org

This Spewed Out of the Internet #27

0511-0701-3118-0930More important things spewing forth from the interwebz:

The Ham Hijinks guys have been at it again, with this article: New Drug Aims To Get More Hams On The Air
Warning: Do Not Take These Guys Seriously, It Only Encourages Them

Chiming in on April 1st, Dan KB6NU reported that the FCC is going to reinstate the Morse Code test.

I posted an article about using UTC over at HamRadioSchool.com: Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is?

KB9VBR has a nice article that explains the common types of antenna connectors used with ham radio.

Elliot KB0RFC has been writing some interesting stuff about D-STAR, DMR and other things digital on his blog. See his latest article: Developing a DMR / D-STAR radio

James R. Winstead, KD5OZY, of Coleman, Texas found out that sometimes the FCC does show up and bust radio amateurs that are causing problems on the air. See the ARRL article here. It always cracks me up when the FCC Engineer reports that during their station inspection, the offender’s radio is still tuned to the frequency where the problems were occurring.

Serious DXers all over the world are in severe depression after finding out that Crimea is Not a New DXCC Entity. Conspiracy Theory: the whole thing was instigated by a group of hams that believed Crimea would be a new one.

73, Bob K0NR

Announcing April 2014 Technician License Class

W0TLMHam Radio Two-Day License Class

Monument, Colorado
Sat April 12 and Sat April 19 (8 AM to 5 PM) 2014

Location: Tri-Lakes Monument Fire Station 1

 The Technician license is your gateway to the world-wide excitement of Amateur Radio …

  • Earn your ham radio Technician class radio privileges
  • Pass your FCC amateur radio license exam right in class on the second day
  • Multiple-choice exam, No Morse Code Required
  • Live equipment demonstrations
  • Learn to operate on the ham bands, 10 Meters and higher
  • Learn to use the many VHF/UHF FM repeaters in Colorado
  • Find out how to participate in emergency communications

There is a $25 registration fee for the class.

In addition, students must have the required study guide:

HamRadioSchool.com Technician License Course $19.95

Advance registration is required (no later than one week before the first session, earlier is better!)

To register for the class, contact: Bob Witte KØNR

Email: bob@k0nr.com  or Phone: 719 659-3727

Sponsored by the Tri-Lakes Monument Fire Radio Association

For more information on amateur (ham) radio visit www.arrl.org  or www.wedothat-radio.org

This Spewed Out of the Internet #26

0511-0701-3118-0930Here’s another update of interesting important stuff spewing forth from the internet.

The Ham Hijinks crew continues to pound out some provocative ham radio reporting.  I can really relate to this story: Man Climbs Tower, Won’t Come Down Until Family Leaves. It was great to hear about this breakthrough: World Issues Solved On Local 2m Repeater. This one is destined to be a Christmas classic: Ham Op Gets CB Radio Christmas Gift Again  Warning: Do not take these guys seriously.

The HamRadioSchool.com team has been busy as well. Check out Stu’s article: Introduction to UHF/VHF FM Repeaters and my article: Practical Signal Reports.

You may have heard about the ARRL petition (FCC RM-11708) to modernize how Part 97 regulates the bandwidth of digital signals.  I’ve reviewed the proceeding and filed brief comments in favor of it. As I read through the filed comments, I found that some hams think this rule change is a threat to everything good in ham radio. I don’t know where they get this idea and I wonder if they’ve actually read the petition before commenting. For more on this, see: ARRL’s “Symbol Rate” Petition Nears Top of FCC’s “Most Active Proceedings” List .

Sverre LA3ZA posted a nice piece comparing the low cost Baofeng handheld radios: The best of the Baofeng handhelds . I don’t agree with his conclusion though…I find the UV-B5 to be the best choice due to the improved receiver, better antenna, improved S meter and rotary dial. But his article does a great job of comparing the radios so you can make your own decision.

Merry Christmas and 73, Bob K0NR

This Spewed Out of the Internet #25

0511-0701-3118-0930Here’s another update of interesting important stuff spewing forth from the internet.

I put my two presentations from HamCon Colorado out on the web:  Practical Amateur Radio Measurements and Mountaintop VHF in the Colorado High Country . Also, check out Kelly N0VD’s blog posting on the event.

Having trouble finding a repeater to use on VHF? Check out my Shack Talk article on HamRadioSchool.com

KB5WIA provides some good tips on EME operating.

Hans PD0AC addresses the question: What’s the Best Chinese Dual-band HT? For best price/performance, he selected Baofeng UV-B5/UV-B6 (and I agree).

The Noise Blankers continue to publish their Ham Hijinks. Remember: Do Not Take These Guys Seriously. Seriously. Do not do this. Seriously.

There’s lots of great ham radio events coming up this summer. This weekend is the CQ Worldwide VHF Contest, the only “true VHF contest” out there since only the 50 MHz and 144 MHz bands are used. Then there’s the Colorado 14er Event, which includes Summits On The Air (SOTA) activations, on August 4th. (Don’t forget to check out the great new Colorado 14er Shirts!)  The Colorado QSO Party is another great operating event, on August 31st.

Remember: There is no such thing as ground.

Think about it: an infinitely large electrical node with zero impedance able to sink an infinite current. Not likely.

73, Bob K0NR

Announcing Technician License Class – Oct 19/26

W0TLMHam Radio Two-Day License Class

Monument, Colorado
Sat Oct 19 and Sat Oct 26 (8 AM to 5 PM) 2013

Location: Tri-Lakes Monument Fire Station 1

 The Technician license is your gateway to the world-wide excitement of Amateur Radio …

  • Earn your ham radio Technician class radio privileges
  • Pass your FCC amateur radio license exam right in class on the second day
  • Multiple-choice exam, No Morse Code Required
  • Live equipment demonstrations
  • Learn to operate on the ham bands, 10 Meters and higher
  • Learn to use the many VHF/UHF FM repeaters in Colorado
  • Find out how to participate in emergency communications

There is a $25 registration fee for the class.

In addition, students must have the required study guide:

HamRadioSchool.com Technician License Course $19.95

Advance registration is required (no later than one week before the first session, earlier is better!)

To register for the class, contact: Bob Witte KØNR

Email: bob@k0nr.com  or Phone: 719 659-3727

Sponsored by the Tri-Lakes Monument Fire Radio Association

 For more information on amateur (ham) radio visit www.arrl.org
 or www.wedothat-radio.org   

Dayton’s Over – Time to Analyze

I made it to the Dayton Hamvention this year, after a multi-year absence. Due to that four-letter word known as work, I was not able to arrive until really late Friday night. That left all day Saturday and the half day on Sunday to partake of the event.

Bob at CQ booth

Bob K0NR discovers the cover photo for the spring CQ VHF

I’ll start with the obligatory dig at Hara Arena, repeating my tweet:

Hara Arena continues to be everything that I wish it wasn’t.

Check out the posts by Jeff KE9V and Steve K9ZW about their impressions of Hamvention.

I spent some time helping out at the HamRadioSchool.com booth in the north hall. Wow, what a positive response we got from that effort. Stu W0STU’s Technician and General Class books have really hit their mark, finding a good balance between covering the material to pass the FCC exams while also helping students to really get it. We heard quite a few instructors stop by and say “This is what I have been looking for!” If you are teaching a ham radio licensing class, you need to check out the HamRadioSchool.com books….and the companion web site and iOS apps.

One of the high points of the weekend was discovering the poster-size front cover of Spring 2013 CQ VHF with my mountaintop photo on it.  Joyce K0JJW took a great shot of me operating from Mt Sneffels last August (Colorado 14er Event and SOTA), so it was an excellent complement to my article: “A Little Mountaintop Operation”.

So I leave Dayton, thinking about the highs and lows for the weekend. There was not much new that really caught my attention. (Disclaimer: I am sure I didn’t see everything there.) I am still looking for an FT-950 with 2 Meters, an Android HT and a D-STAR radio from Kenwood, Yaesu or even Alinco. Also, there is a real trend of vaporware instead of products. I’ve gotten really jaded about this. If a company can’t quote price and delivery, then it doesn’t exist in my world.

As K9ZW pointed out, much of the fun of Dayton is being with great people: some old friends (like my bud Denny KB9DPF) and some new ones, too.

How was your Hamvention?

73, Bob K0NR

General License Book From HamRadioSchool.com

HRS General BookHamRadioSchool.com is off to a great start with a learning system that includes a web site, iPhone app and a great Technician License Course book. The Technician book, written by my fellow instructor Stu Turner W0STU, has turned out to be very popular. Stu did a great job of balancing “teaching the right material” with “focusing on the exam questions.” We’ve used the book in our two-day Tech license class with great success.

Many people have been asking Stu when he’s going to write a book for the FCC General Class License. So, by popular demand, here it is: HamRadioSchool.com General License Course. Using the same creative style that worked well with the Technician book, Stu has delivered an easy-t0-grok book for getting your General Class License.

I was happy to provide technical assistance to Stu for this book and earned the esteemed title of Technical Editor.  It even says so on the front cover! (It says Technical Editor because I can’t be held responsible for proper grammar or spelling.)

Just like the Tech book, the General book has a companion iPhone app available on iTunes.

73, Bob K0NR

The Updated Incomplete List of Ham Radio iPhone Apps

iphonesIt is about time I updated one of my more popular posts, The Incomplete List of Ham Radio iPhone Apps from 2011. This was a challenging task back then and has gotten more difficult as the number of ham radio apps for the iPhone has greatly expanded. Still, I will give it a shot and appreciate your feedback to make the list better. I am only evaluating iPhone apps, not iPad apps, since I don’t use an iPad.

In general, I will focus on free or low cost (less than $5) apps that I am actively using.

From the Simple Utility Category:

 Maidenhead Converter (Author: Donald Hays, Cost: Free) Handy app that displays your grid locator, uses maps and does lat/lon to grid locator conversions.

Ham Radio Handbook (Author: Antonis Miliarakis Cost: Free) This app provides some basic ham radio info: Q Signals, Country Prefixes, Band Plans and RST signal reporting.

UTC Time (Author: Michael Wells, Cost: Free) A simple app that displays UTC time and local time.

Ham I Am (Author: Storke Brothers, Cost: Free) A handy app that covers some basic amateur radio reference material (Phonetic alphabet, Q Signals, Ham Jargon, Morse Code, RST System, etc.) Although I find the name to be silly, I like the app!

There are quite a few good apps for looking up amateur radio callsigns.

CallBook (Author: Dog Park Software, Cost: $1.99) Simple ham radio callbook lookup with map display.

Call Sign Lookup (Author: Technivations, Cost: $0.99) Another simple ham radio callsign lookup with map display.

CallSigns (Author: David Fleming W4SMT, Cost: $1.99) This is my favorite ham radio callsign lookup. The features are not much different than the others I have listed but the graphics are nicer and the user interface a little cleaner. I am sure this is mostly personal preference.

There are a few repeater directory apps out there:

iHAM Repeater Database (Author: Garry Gerossie, Cost: $4.99) Geolocation repeater directory. This seems to work well.

RepeaterBook (Author: ZBM2 Software, Cost: Free) I’ve only used this one a bit but it seems to work well and its free.

If you are an EchoLink user, then you’ll want this app:

EchoLink (Author: Synergenics, Cost: Free) The EchoLink app for the iPhone.

There are quite a few APRS apps out there. I tend to use these as my needs are pretty simple….just track me, baby!

iBCNU (Author: Luceon, Cost: $1.99) The first APRS app I was able to get running. It just turned on and worked. It integrates the aprs.fi mapping into the app, so it is easy to use. I recommend this one for most casual APRS users.

Ham Tracker (Author: Kram, Cost: $2.99) APRS app, works OK, uses external maps such as Google and aprs.fi. “Share” feature allows you to send an SMS or email with your location information.

Satellite tracking is another useful app for a smartphone:

ISS Lite (Author: Craig Vosburgh, Cost: Free) A free satellite tracking app for just the International Space Station. It has annoying ads but its free.

ProSat Satellite Tracker (Author: Craig Vosburgh, Cost: $9.99) This app is by the same author as ISS Lite, but is the full-featured “pro” version. Although it is a pricey compared to other apps, I recommend it.

For Summits On The Air (SOTA) activity, there are a few apps:

Pocket SOTA (Author: Pignology, Cost: Free) A free app for finding SOTA summits, checking spots and accessing other information.

SOTA Goat (Author: Rockwell Schrock, Cost: $4.99) This is a great app for SOTA activity. It works better when offline than Pocket SOTA (which often happens when you are activating a summit).

For Technician License training, I like the HamRadioSchool.com app. (OK, I am biased here as I contribute to that web site.)

HamRadioSchool (Author: Peak Programming, Cost: $2.99) There are a lot of Technician practice exams out there but this is the best one, especially if you use the HamRadioSchool license book. They also just released the General practice exam, too.

For a mobile logbook:

HamLog (Author: Pignology, Cost: $0.99) I am not too keen on the idea of keeping a log on an iPhone, but it does come in handy once in a while. More importantly, HamLog includes a bunch of handy tools including UTC Clock, Callsign Lookup, Prefix list, Band Plans, Grid Calculator, Solar Data, SOTA Watch, Q Signals and much more.

Well, that’s my list. Any other suggestions?

This Spewed Out of the Internet #24

0511-0701-3118-0930Here’s another update of interesting important stuff spewing forth from the internet.

The Noise Blankers continue to run amuck on these interwebz, with cutting edge reporting like this: Amateur Radio Club Indicted on Ferritte Trafficking Charges, Special Event Station to Mark Departure of Mother-In-Law, and Man Claims CQ Contest Victory Despite No Contacts. In a related matter, still no word on the status of the Lost Island DX Society (LIDS).

The FISTS CW Club has a web page that measures your callsign weight. The basic idea is that shorter is better, so plug your callsign in and the ham with the lowest score wins! Mine weighs 52, what’s yours?

The ARRL Field Day information is available for download. The logo looks pretty good this year! field day 2013

Plain Old Telephone Service (POTS) is on the way out.

Lots of new content on HamRadioSchool.com.  Stu W0STU has been discussing the Technician License Question of the Week and I contributed some Shack Talk articles.

And remember, everything on the internet is true because the government is watching it.

73, Bob K0NR

What Frequency Do I Use on 2 Meters?

HRS LogoOne of the more popular articles on my web site is Choose Your 2M Frequency Wisely, which explains the 2 Meter (144 MHz) band plan. VHF and UHF band plans are mostly local in nature and there is no one band plan that works across the US or North America. So that article is written specifically for the band plan in my own state of Colorado.

I recently wrote a new Shack Talk article for HamRadioSchool.com that covers the same topic in a more general way for North America. I called this article What Frequency Do I Use on 2 Meters? Please check it out!

– 73, Bob K0NR

Technician License Class – April 2013

Monument, Colorado
Saturday April 13 and Saturday April 20 (8 AM to 5 PM) 2013

Location: Tri-Lakes Monument Fire Station 1
Sponsored by the Tri-Lakes Monument Fire Radio Association

The Technician license is your gateway to the world-wide excitement of Amateur Radio…

  • Earn your ham radio Technician class radio privileges
  • Pass your FCC amateur radio license exam right in class on the second day
  • Multiple-choice exam, No Morse Code Required
  • Live equipment demonstrations
  • Learn to operate on the ham bands, 10 Meters and higher
  • Learn to use the many VHF/UHF FM repeaters in Colorado
  • Find out how to participate in emergency communications

There is no cost for the class (donations accepted)
However, students must have the required study guide:
HamRadioSchool.com Technician License Course $19.95
And pay the FCC Exam Fee: $15.00

Advance registration is required (no later than one week before the first session)
This class usually fills up, so don’t delay!

To register for the class, contact: Bob Witte KØNR
Email: bob@k0nr.com or Phone: 719 659-3727

For more information on amateur (ham) radio visit www.arrl.org or www.wedothat-radio.org

Shack Talk on HamRadioSchool.com

I’ve been writing a few articles for the HamRadioSchool.com web site during the past few months. Most of these are aimed at newly licensed Technicians but other radio amateurs may find them useful.

Click on this link to go directly to the Shack Talk articles:

  • A Half-Wave Antenna for Your 2 Meter Handheld Radio
  • VHF FM Station At Home
  • Yes, Band Plans Do Matter

I also put together a quick reference chart for Technician License Bands and Modes.

Check out the other content available on HamRadioSchool.com.

73, Bob K0NR